Are you aware that you are living an industrial revolution? Humans have an amazing ability to transform nature’s resources into useful products. More than 200 years ago, an unstoppable adventure began. Human ingenuity devised a machine that mechanized their tasks, the steam engine. Thus came our 1st industrial revolution.
Thanks to the unstoppable take-off of science, we were able to optimize manufacturing for mass production (2nd industrial revolution) and later the discoveries of electronics and information technology allowed many tasks to be done automatically (3rd industrial revolution).
Today this revolution continues. The world is already immersed in a 4th industrial revolution. Manufacturing technologies are undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Sophisticated software systems, sensors everywhere, powerful processors, innovative telecommunication technologies. This is what has come to be called industry 4.0, intelligent industry or cyber-industry.
Our way of life has taken a qualitative leap into the future. Everything around us is connected: people, data, machines… And now that leap has also been taken by industry. Industry 4.0 is a new way of organizing the means of production and a concept of consumption that involves new ways of manufacturing and delivering what we manufacture. It consists of a new idea of global communication with new professionals specialized in connectivity, augmented reality, Big Data, 3D printing, artificial vision, Internet of Things, Cyber-physical systems, collaborative robotics, etc. that will change the way the industry works.
Industry 4.0 not only generates better products and more efficient processes, it also generates new business opportunities, changes the way in which the product is made available to the market and incorporates new services or functionalities to them.
The great revolution in this new industry is the amount of information generated throughout the product life cycle. The correct use and management of this information is one of the pillars for the development of future business models. Thus, for example, applications and devices can be developed to capture and analyze information for actions focused on predicting changes in trends in the use or consumption of a product or in the prevention of possible undesired scenarios. The processed information can be visualized in augmented or virtual reality devices and allows the development of applications, for end users or professionals, that offer enhanced user experiences and virtual environments with which they can interact.
In many cases, the new products incorporate sensor technology and intelligence that allows them to be connected to other products or services, opening the door to cooperative business models that take advantage of these connections. Wearables, smart fabrics, connected home appliances. Industry 4.0 is getting closer to customers than ever before.
Designing new business models based on the revolution of logistics and distribution processes is also possible, being one of the processes that will present the most changes and business opportunities in the coming years. Maker centers using additive manufacturing tools so that the customer can manufacture the product himself, delivery services supported by drones, e-commerce fully internalized by today’s society can also be taken as a starting point for new business models by adding elements to the classic value proposition such as the sale of customized products that are manufactured on demand.
As you can see the concept of Industry 4.0 is something very broad and complex, but it could be summarized as:
- Digitization of factories.
- Factory flexibility and production customization.
- The introduction of new logistics and simulation tools.
- A factory that saves energy, raw materials and human resources.
- Better business decisions.
- New production and business models.